In these short 19 years of my existence, I’ve witnessed many fellow human beings suffering from what seems to be a terrible pandemic condition: the undeniable need for acceptance.
I, as an ordinary human being, tend to find myself in the same situation. Though not as often as I did before. Things changed when I realized that the setting of my life is a stage, and that, at any moment, unknown to me, the curtains might close, and the lights might go off.
From then on, the awareness spread itself. Not only was I aware of the setting, but of the people involved. Characters, entering and exiting various scenes. Some staying longer than others, conflicts arising, and myself in the middle, embracing improvisation.
And finally, perhaps the most important part, my audience. Or is it?
I always tell people, “define your audience”. We are all alive. We are all living our lives, but for who? Who are we performing for? Who are we wanting to impress?
I find that many people I know tend to, even if subconsciously, perform for others. It’s as if they have something to prove to others, and not to themselves. In fact, they have forgotten that their existence is not determined by occasional cheers from their audience. The reality is that your audience, life, will sometimes throw tomatoes at you, regardless of how flawless your show is, or how brilliant your acting skills are.
There are far too many of us, and one can’t live a life trying to please every single human being on earth. After having come to this realization, I’ve decided to re-evaluate my audience. Who am I performing for? People? Myself? God?
Performing for people is silly. People rely on perception, which isn’t entirely accurate. Performing for myself would be selfish. So I chose to perform for a higher, possibly much more intelligent entity. I chose to be accountable to God and to God alone. Surprisingly, it works. As I’m busy putting on a show for my God up above, occasionally, people down here on earth pass by and clap.
This said, I don’t deny the need for acceptance. We are self-proclaimed individuals who strive to fit in. I just don’t think it’s wise to live a life determined by your audience’s preferences.
I shall leave you with a excerpt from a play I wrote and had the pleasure to see staged, No Joke.
JOE: What about them? [points to the audience]
JOKE: Forget about them.
JOE: I can’t. They paid to be here, they are expecting a performance. And quite frankly, they are the reason we exist. If there was no audience, who would we perform for?
JOKE: Our own selves! Fellow, we are free beings, we don’t need them [points to the audience] to give our lives meaning! We hold the power to create that meaning!